This poem is taken from Stand 226, 18(2) June - August 2020.

Claire Booker CAPT James Cook’s Death – A Provenance
CAPT James Cook’s Death – a Provenance

hypnotic sky-lines

             /white flags             on war canoes

Kamehameha     in his feathered cloak                         

unclear hand-signals to               Williamson in

the pinnace

                 two minutes                    to reload              

              a musket/


jib,  mizzen,  capstan,  windlass          their erotic pulse

on the tongue

            a South Sea shilling              in a draper’s till

intoxications      of Whitby to a land-                   locked

labourer’s son


the heady rush       of reef                          

where it shouldn’t be

                     emptiness


charts

Charles de Brosses                             Martin de Aguilar

Antoine de Bougainville

                          Ferdinand Magellan

                  Abel Janszoon Tasman

Luis Vaez de Torres

/

land-grab tag           BREAD FRUIT

                                                          prize money

THE NATIONAL

INTEREST

hogs, water, fish, fruit, roots, women

exchanged

for red feathers, nails, baubles –  later

iron daggers


a split/     in Resolution’s foremast           the great God

Orono                                   reappearing from the West

          humming

along the cliff top at Kealakekua Bay


a dagger to the back of the neck

/     his head held

under


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